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View Diary: Rosa Parks—beyond the stereotype (216 comments)

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  •  Sorry if I'm stealing focus but... (11+ / 0-)

    Does anyone else notice the pattern of 'scary black people' being tarred as communists?

    Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King are mentioned in the diary, but I can think of quite a few more. Malcolm X for starters.

    Another is Patrice Lumumba in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo (a former Belgian colony). He was 'thought of' as a communist, so the CIA and the Belgians basically kidnapped him and handed him over to a rebel faction; both the Americans and Belgians knew Lumumba would be murdered. His real 'crime' was anti-colonialism and concern for the poor; this meant dismantling the colonial economy and land reform. The West didn't like this one bit so once he became Prime Minister, they decided to take him out. If they really thought he was a communist they were idiots.

    There are many, many others in Africa who struggled for liberation from colonial/white rule who were similarly described as communists (Bogeyman! Bogeyman!), but very few were. Many of them took aid from the Soviets but that is largely due to Western countries seeking to maintain their economic and poltical domination of newly independent countries in Africa. SWAPO and the ANC were also accused of communism... most famously Nelson Mandela. The threat of communism was used as an excuse by many Western leaders to justify continued white rule in South Africa and Namibia (then South West Africa). Shameful.

    Even today, the first Black President of the United States is regularly accused of being a communist.

    Sigh :-(

    I ride the wild horse .

    by BelgianBastard on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 07:36:56 AM PST

    •  Having grown up during the "red scare" (8+ / 0-)

      days - and  the hysteria of the cold war - I watched it become a perfect way to dismiss and isolate social change and activism.

      I was raised at home on Marxist economics - but never became a member of the CPUSA - though I respected many of the positions they took.  

      To this day we still have the chilling effect of those times - I still have students who know zilch about Marx.  My European and African students are much better educated.

      "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 07:43:22 AM PST

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      •  Where to begin? (4+ / 0-)

        Marx drew, I think, largely mistaken conclusions from the exploitation of workers (often little better than slavery) that resulted from the Industrial Revolution and the unfettered capitalism that went with it. I am hardly the first to note that while Marx predicted that communism would take hold in industrial societies, it tended to take root in agrarian ones. I also think that what was (is in some places) called Marxism or communism,  bears only a formalistic resemblance to what Marx was writing about.

        Communism/Marxism/Leninism/Maoism suffers from the fault that all ideologies do (this is equally true of today's Republican party). I'll explain with a joke about French beaureaucracy:

        A social worker, after running a pilot project for three years, has come up with a cheap, effective way to combat youth delinquancy. He is waiting to see the Minister of the Interior. He uses the time to go over his facts and figures one more time, even though he knows them by wrote. But the numbers give him heart - crime goes down a lot, high school and college graduation rates go way, way up, his plan provides jobs and cost little in the short term and is almost certainly a net positive, financially, for the state in the medium and long terms. He also knows he has his presentation down pat. Finally, an hour late, he is summoned into the office of the Minister.

        The Minister invites him to begin his explanation; handing over his ream of tables and statistics, he begins. 45 minutes later he concludes with a brief recap of all the benefits.

        Looking up from the pages the social worker has provided, the Minister with a grave expression on his face, asks, "Monsieur, I can see what you are doing works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

        Anyway, I don't believe in state ownership - communism, socialism - I believe in heavily regulated markets. Of course for that to work corporate money (including the owners') cannot be allowed to play much of a roll in financing political parties. [I'll be doing a diary about how we achieve that in Belgium in advance of our elections in June]. I won't go much further into this right now but one example of the pitfalls of state-owned companies: Even in the eighties we had one telecom company in Belgium, state owned. It sometimes took months to get a new line installed, people were not allowed to own their phones or buy them abroad and there were only a limited - very limited - number of models available. So on my first real solo-trip abroad I illegally brought back a phone that was preprogrammable and that had large buttons. So my granma, who had bad eyesight and parkinsons could easily call my parents and a few others. It was not possible to get such a phone legally in Belgium. In Singapore it cost something like 60 bucks. So yes to competition, yes to regulation. One without the other doesn't work.

        Sorry for the long post.

        I ride the wild horse .

        by BelgianBastard on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 09:16:56 AM PST

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    •  The long lived ghost (5+ / 0-)

      of J. Edgar Hoover. He found a mighty tool in that, used it over and over and it's still being used.

      And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

      by high uintas on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 09:41:55 AM PST

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